Russell Westbrook has been having an incredible season for the Los Angeles Lakers after a horrible 2021-22 season. He has risen to the top of the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award and has been one of the Lakers’ most consistent players this season. However, the mistakes he makes are simply too loud to overlook, and Sunday night’s defeat against the Sixers was yet another example.
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers were behind the Philadelphia 76ers by one point in the final seconds. Russell Westbrook snatched a rebound off a Joel Embiid miss and drove up the court. Rather than calling a timeout to let the Sixers’ defense set up, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham chose to let Westbrook cook. He came up with a dish in the last seconds that wasn’t exactly a crowd-pleaser.
Russell Westbrook for the win… pic.twitter.com/b20ufOJ2kC
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) January 16, 2023
The former MVP couldn’t get off a clean look and be just smacked down by a Sixers double team at the rim. Lakers supporters were shocked by the outcome. The meme machine was flowing too with various clips clowning Russell Westbrook for fumbling what could’ve been a huge Lakers win in the final seconds.
There were several more nuanced takes on the Lakers star, but it’s clear that the general thought is that Westbrook shouldn’t be getting the ball with the game on the line.
Every time I start to think the pendulum has swung too far and Russell Westbrook gets too much hate he does something like this to give me a reminder
Used to be such a fun player to watch but just struggles to play winning basketball at this pointpic.twitter.com/hiOXYRgtST
— Sean Barnard (@Sean_Barnard1) January 16, 2023
LMAO WHAT THE HELL IS RUSSEL WESTBROOK COOKING????? LEBRON TRADING HIS ASS BY TOMORROW pic.twitter.com/H1A0xaRGgi
— KingCharge (@KingCharge) January 16, 2023
Russ looked off the second greatest basketball player ever down one on the final possession when said player had 35-8-10 on 65%.
I have never seen anything in the game of basketball quite like Russell Westbrook. I have no words to describe it.
— Jason Timpf (@_JasonLT) January 16, 2023
— Brock Landers 🫐 (@theMEZ9) January 16, 2023
Two things can be true:
1. Russell Westbrook largely played a good game and makes meaningful contributions to the Lakers.
2. Russell Westbrook made the wrong play in crunch time, which he frequently does, and should therefore probably never play crunch time.
— Sam Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) January 16, 2023
Can debate call timeout vs no timeout to start the last possession, particularly with Westbrook already having Embiid on him, but when Westbrook bobbled the ball the timeout had to be called. Have to. Was still time to inbound and find a good look
— Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane) January 16, 2023
Russell Westbrook claimed after the game that he was fouled by Embiid, which resulted in his awkward-looking shot. If you ignore the final possession and consider the entire body of work, Westbrook had a solid performance off the Lakers bench. He finished with a triple-double of 20 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists, which is usually a good omen for his team’s bottom line on the scoreboard.